Tuesday, May 20, 2008

They Can Control The News But They Can't Control The Comics

Are Doonesbury's days on the News-Press comics page numbered?

A reader pointed out Sunday's strip in which Gary Trudeau takes a swipe at bottled water.

And the strip also starts out with the main character wondering to himself why he still reads "old media."

Given the fact that owner Wendy McCaw's boyfriend, Arthur von Wiesenberger proclaims himself as "the world's best-known authority on bottled water," the News-Press is the one place where those bottled water jokes won't run off like water (bottled or otherwise) on a duck's back.

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Maybe there is a "wall" between news and opinion at the News-Press?

Monday's front page had a story on Chelsea Wanstrath, the Santa Barbara woman who was one of the final two contestants on the just completed season of "The Bachelor."

The front page story was illustrated with two huge photos which were both credited as publicity shots from ABC. (And when is the last time a paper of record paper ran a PR shot on its front page?)

The placement of the story was no doubt the idea of associate editor "Larry The Cable Guy" who is reported to be a big fan of reality TV shows.

While this story is fine for the Life section of the paper its news value as a page one story is highly dubious, especially in light of the fact that the episode in which she was eliminated was a week ago.

Of course the biggest beneficiary of this article and its placement is KEYT, the local ABC affiliate who the last time I checked was still a charter member of editorial page editor Travis Armstrong's "cabal of rival media that aims to silence" the News-Press.

That sound you heard coming from high atop TV Hill Monday morning was the chorus of KEYT management and advertising staff saying "thanks News-Press!"

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The State Supreme Court ruling last week allowing Deputy DA Ron Zonen to remain on the Jesse James Hollywood case and his colleague Joyce Dudley to remain as the prosecutor on another case made the New York Times.

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Local websites and blogs getting a face lift: Noozhawk and Santa Barbara's Blog.